Is your child distracted at school?

Is your child distracted at school?

Have you ever found a grade on your child’s report card that seems to be below his or her abilities?

This may indicate poor study habits, a behavior problem or indicate an underlying medical condition.

“Distractibility in kids can be due to learning disabilities, situational stress or trauma, abnormal lead levels, vision or hearing abnormalities,” said Betsy Wacker, PA-C, a physician assistant with Ministry Victory Medical Group’s Stanley Clinic.

So what can you do?

If you suspect a vision problem, schedule an appointment with an optometrist.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, 20 percent of children become nearsighted during their school years.

Symptoms of a vision problem

  • Does your child complain about headaches?
  • Does your child rub his or her eyes often?
  • Does your child’s eyes water?
  • Are your child’s eyes sensitive to light?
  • Does your child squint or cock his or her to one side when looking at something, whether near or far away?
  • Does your child need to close one of his or her eyes to see clearly?
  • Does your child sit too close to the TV or hold books close to his or her face when reading?

If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, you may want to have your child’s vision tested. If you do not have an optometrist, you could ask your primary care provider for a recommendation. Vision problems

Hearing problems can also cause frustration in the classroom. An audiologist can determine if your child is suffering from a hearing loss. Researchers at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, concluded that even minimal hearing loss can affect academic progress. A child with a hearing loss in one ear is 10 times more likely to have academic difficulties.

Dyslexia or attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADD or ADHD) may cause your child difficulties at school. Up to 12 percent of the school-aged population have ADD or ADHD, while 15 – 20 percent of the population have some degree of dyslexia, which affects a person’s ability to read, write or calculate.

Twenty percent of children with learning disabilities struggle with attention problems in the classroom.

Distraction in class may also be caused by emotional upheaval that a child is dealing with at home. A child who experiences loss, strife in the home, bullying at school or a similar stressful situation may feel anxious or depressed.

Other problems in academic performance may need to be evaluated by educational professionals through standardized academic tests or motor skill assessments. Contact your child’s school’s guidance office for more information.

If you suspect that your child may have a learning disability, it is important to get help for child as soon as possible. Make sure that you enlist the services of your health care provider and the educational professionals that can support you and your child throughout the process. The earlier the disability is identified, the easier it is for the child to learn new ways to compensate and succeed.

For more information on possible medical reasons for poor school performance, talk to your health care provider or visit ministryhealth.org/findadoctor to locate a provider in your area.